by Judy Bushy
Many out of town visitors were here for the grand opening of the Visitor Information Center at the Forest Service office Peg Boland, Supervisor for the Klamath National Forest, Cheryl Wainwright for the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce and Tom Waddell filling in for the Karuk Tribe of California representative, cut the ribbon and invited the crowd of eager people in to see the new Visitor Information Center.
It is beautiful!! There is a large wrap around desk where the receptionist helping the visitors with questions can sit ready. Veronica Salvage will be the smiling face greeting visitors now. An oak display rack holds a wealth of information on the area, wildlife, natural resources and businesses in the area from the Chamber of Commerce.
There are areas for the youngest visitors, too. They can sit at a table and see an animal skull or feel the difference in vegetation that is used in basketry.
The Karuk basket collection of Ruth Baker, administered by Hazel Joyner, is on display so you can see their world-renowned basket skills. The most striking item is a manikin with the traditional dress of the Karuk.
The mining history of the area is also apparent with the display of how a mine worked in the old days.
Local artists have brought in their paintings and other artwork to display, which adds color and the proper setting for the displays. Alan Crockett teaches art classes, some of which will be going into the Marble Mountains for on the scene painting experiences, and bring more art to bring these views to the visitor who stops by the center. Klamath Know Arts Council is also involved in this part of the project. Photos and poetry as well as the actual hands on exhibits make this a wonderful slice of the resources of the area. Colleen Hall and Dan Huddleston are also thanked for their participation. Animals that had previously been on display in the forest service office are there to see, along with some great new additions.
From the beginning of the idea of a Visitor Center, which Tom Waddell mentioned in the Action committee many times, to the fruition of the plan, has taken a few years. It seems like all of the parts of the local community have been involved. Don Hall in Yreka as well as Valerie and Gay Baxter spent busy days helping the Chamber with memorandums, applications with necessary paperwork. That was back when Eddie Davenport was the president. Louis Tiraterra Sr. Louis Tiraterra Jr., and Dennis Day were working on the drawings.
Fred Newoshi and Verna, Alta Harper, Hazel Joyner as well as Arch Super and the Karuk Tribe of California provided support and assistance to the displays. It is hoped that the People’s Center and the Visitor’s Center will be sharing displays for years to come. Nothing would have gotten accomplished without the help of the RAC, especially Sheryl Crawford and Eddie Davenport; as they provided the initial funding of $38,000 for the remodeling.
It has turned out a very beautiful project for the funds and information and assistance for visitors to enjoy our area more for many years to come. More exhibits and possibilities are anticipated and it will be a work in progress as more variety and presentations, which can vary with the seasons. You just need to stop by and see the displays. You’ll enjoy it and it is a perfect place for a visitor to our area to find out about recreational opportunities and get questions answered to make their stay more enjoyable!